Association for Conflict Resolution's Blog

New Zealand: What Works–An ADR Perspective (of a Commercial Model)

Posted in Uncategorized by Association for Conflict Resolution on May 27, 2010

A beautiful country of “meager financial wealth.” “So the challenge we’re meeting is producing quality ADR systems in the free market” (i.e., not subsidized by government). Disputes Resolution Services Ltd.  (DRSL) is the ADR entity in the country, with 100 employees, 6 in-house mediators, and a separate board of directors. A separate institute monitors all the arbitrators and mediators in NZ, including those who work for DRSL.

NZ legislation requires many organizations to provide ADR systems for their customer disputes—no money, just a directive. So DRSL works collaboratively with organizations to develop different processes to fit various disputes—at no cost to end users (“customers don’t pay”).

Interestingly, the mediation process used in NZ is conducted entirely in joint session.

It’s also worth noting that in NZ, legal representation is a separate cost from mediated issues.

Finally, DRSL says the rights of parties to make informed choices is “paramount in the pursuit of justice.” And that the mediation process support this through exploration, extended joint sessions, and “productive handling of emotions.” DRSL believes this leads to better, and more just, outcomes.

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